The Late Devonian Gogo Formation Lägerstatte of Western Australia: Exceptional Early Vertebrate Preservation and Diversity
The Gogo Formation of Western Australia preserves a unique Late Devonian (Frasnian) reef fauna. The exceptional three-dimensional preservation of macrofossils combined with unprecedented soft-tissue preservation (including muscle bundles, nerve cells, and umbilical structures) has yielded a particularly rich assemblage with almost 50 species of fishes described. The most significant discoveries have contributed to resolving placoderm phylogeny and elucidating their reproductive physiology. Specifically, these discoveries have produced data on the oldest known vertebrate embryos; the anatomy of the primitive actinopterygian neurocranium and phylogeny of the earliest actinopterygians; the histology, radiation, and plasticity of dipnoan (lungfish) dental and cranial structures; the anatomy and functional morphology of the extinct onychodonts; and the anatomy of the primitive tetrapodomorph head and pectoral fin.